any tips for the ISA?(Original post by Jack93o)
Its possible mate, I know because I done it myself
I didn't do any resits alongside, I just done the whole physics a-level in 1 year, and got an A*.
My biggest heads up for you, is the practical assessment, which altogether counts for 20% of the A-level marks (I think this is correct for all exam boards, you can double check this). You would need to find somewhere to do the practical assessment, which is tough, not many schools/colleges/exam centres could facilitate this, but there are some though (they could be pricey, so bear that in mind). Before you set your mind on doing this whole a-level, sort out where you'll do the practical, because if you can't do the practical, then you're throwing away 20% of marks, which means that you would need to score full UMS in all your written units just to scrap an A grade.
I self studied, got myself a few textbooks and just worked through the pages, and occasionally I'd come on TSR or physicsforum to ask questions if I get stuck on something. There are also loads of youtube videos as well to help. You can really find a lot of resources and help online, the best thing is that they're FREE!
Be committed, and stick to a regular work schedule, trust me it'll help massively. I went off the rails for a while this year, got lazy, literally didn't do any physics work for 2-3 months and that made my life a whole lot tougher, as I had to cram loads of stuff in the weeks leading up to the exams.
PM me if you want further advice or info
A level physics in one year Watch
- 20-08-2013 14:46
- 20-08-2013 15:34
but I suppose the skill-sets are still the same. I would say, read up on previous ISA papers, including the mark schemes and the examiner report. The textbooks (and CGP revision guides) should also contain a small section on practicals, they'll give you info on practical skills. Off the top of my head, these are some practical techniques and general things you should be aware of, such as:
- learn about percentage error. Tbh I never fully got my head around this, basically I think every measuring tool has a percentage error, the smallest possible % error equals the smallest increment in the measurement readings given by the measuring tool. Although I'm not totally sure, so you should check this elsewhere.
- when you're trying to time how long it takes for a pendulum to swing 'one cycle', take the time for x number of cycles and then divide the time by x (make sure that x is reasonably large number, like 10). That way, you'll reduce the % of uncertainty in your data. The logic behind this is, the actual amount of uncertainty is fixed (i.e. the human error in judging from a stopwatch, which could theoretically be 0.5second for example), so if you increase the time that you're measuring, the percentage error within this would be smaller, i.e. you might measure one cycle to be 2 seconds, 0.5 is 25% of 2 seconds, whereas if you measured 10 cycles, you would get something like 20 seconds, 0.5 would then only be 0.025% of 20.
- things like systematic error in your results (i.e if your measurement tools haven't been calibrated correctly)
- be aware that when you're plotting a graph, make sure that it covers over half of the page you're given, and (very important as well) make sure that the scales are sensible - i.e. one square grid for an even number which if easy for the examiner to see you've plotted the points correctly, for example, if you make one square grid = 2 units, its easy to see whether your points line up correctly with the axis's scales, but if you made one square grid = 3 or 5, then it becomes a lot complicated. Dunno if I explained this alright, quote me again if you don't get what I mean. I'm not exactly sure if this is true for other exam boards, but for AQA, they definitely do look at things like these for deciding whether to award marks, so don't get sloppy in your graph drawing, be as careful and precise as possible. Also, make sure you have labelled the axis (along with the units), and put a title above the graph.
I can't really advise much on practicals, since I never prepared much for them anyway. I just went in and use what I read up along with 'common sense'. I was given a few hours of practice with the equipments and all beforehand, but still, god knows how I ended up with an A and a B, I was only aiming at getting 50% of the marks. I really wasn't expecting to do well, since I was studying independently, so I had no real practical experience since when I was in school doing my GCSEs.